The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved a total of $2,679,678 in state funding for nine local transportation, flood protection, trail, recreation and water projects in the 25th Senatorial District, announced Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).
“Today’s approval of grants for so many crucial local projects will have a tremendous impact upon our region,” Scarnati said. “I commend our local boroughs, townships, businesses and organizations for seeking out support and receiving these substantial CFA grants. I am extremely pleased that so many local projects have received state funding for important public improvements, to better serve area residents and businesses.”
“First and foremost, it is important to ensure the safety of people within and around these communities in the event of a flood,” State Rep. Martin Causer said. “It is also important to make sure the levees meet federal standards to protect homeowners, business owners, schools and others from having to purchase costly flood insurance for their properties. These grants are important investments in these communities.”
The projects approved for funding are a part of four different programs that are administered by the CFA, including the Flood Mitigation Program; Greenways Trails & Recreation Program; Multimodal Transportation Fund Program and Sewage Facilities Program.
According to Scarnati, the more than $2.6 million in local funding is being distributed as state grants. The financing was approved at the November 14th CFA meeting in Harrisburg. Funding for the projects comes from money generated by the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee (Act 13 of 2012) and the Transportation Funding Plan (Act 89 of 2013).
Scarnati explained that in the 25th Senatorial District the following projects were approved across seven counties:
- Emporium Borough – $220,000 grant (Flood Mitigation Program)
This grant will provide the Borough with support to conduct an engineering study on the Sinnemahoning Creek levee. The study will show that approximately 8,000 LF of levee that is constructed along the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek meets or exceeds code requirements for levee certification. This certification is required by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. The total project cost is $275,985.
- Huston Township – $237,000 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
This funding will provide support for the replacement of the bridge located at Winterburn Road over Bennett Branch. This has been a public safety concern due to the poor structure of the current bridge which is severely weight restricted by a maximum of 3 tons. The bridge provides the only access to the properties across the stream and does not safely or legally support necessities of these properties such as rescue vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, fuel oil, construction vehicles or school buses. The project will also address the erosion of the stream bank and approach roadway. Work includes the installation of structure mounted guide rail, approach and transition guide rail and bituminous paving on the bridge. The total cost of the project is $346,000.
Clearfield & Elk Counties
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $40,000 grant (Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program)
This grant will assist with development of a multi-use trail system on the Bennett Branch Forest property located in Jay Township, Elk County and Huston Township, Clearfield County. The trail system will incorporate forest management roads improved to accommodate hunting, hiking, biking and wildlife watching. Trail improvements also include improved surface and drainage of forest management road. In addition, there will be construction of a gathering area and installation of park signage. The total project cost is $49,802.
- UPMC Susquehanna – $285,266 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
This funding will assist UPMC Susquehanna with a streetscape improvement project in the City of Lock Haven. The project will include pedestrian safety enhancements to improve safety, mobility and accessibility to Lock Haven Hospital. These improvements are critical due to the hospital’s remote location in one of Lock Haven’s residential communities. Currently, residents walk on Cree Drive and other streets in the city due to the lack of sidewalks, which creates potentially serious conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. Streetscape improvements along Cree Drive and Irwin Street include sidewalk installation, lighting and landscaping. The total project cost is $407,524.
- Benezette Township – $18,000 grant (Sewage Facilities Program)
This grant will provide assistance for an Act 537 special study to evaluate modifications and upgrades to the existing Benezette Township wastewater treatment plant. An engineering evaluation will include a description and justification of the improvements, operational changes and/or design modifications that are necessary to ensure permit compliance. The total project cost is $37,908.
- Brockway Borough – $1,000,000 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
The project includes the realignment of an existing intersection at SR 219 and SR 28 as well as building a new 700 foot access road near this intersection that will help traffic flow to a nearby residential neighborhood. The area is experiencing increased growth due to two major manufacturing plants, Phoenix Sintered Metals and Owens Brockway Glass, retail establishments including Sheetz, and two recently established secondary training centers, Brockway Center for Arts and Technology and Butler Community College branch campus. High traffic volume is converging through the current intersection creating safety and traffic congestion issues. The borough proposes to improve access in and out of the area to improve safety measures for vehicles, bikes and pedestrian mobility. The total project cost is $3,304,370.
- Eldred Borough – $129,412 grant (Flood Mitigation Program)
This funding will be used for the re-certification process for the levee system in Eldred Borough. The borough was recently notified that their levee system no longer meets the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) requirements. As a result, FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Map will require the majority of the borough to carry flood insurance, including the school and all of the business district. This study will re-accredit the levee system, to FEMA’s requirements under the National Flood Insurance Program in order to avoid such high insurance costs on its residents and businesses. The total project cost is $152,250.
- City of Bradford – $450,000 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
Johnsonburg Borough, on behalf of the Area Transportation Authority of North Central Pennsylvania applied for this grant, which will provide assistance for the construction of a downtown transit center in Bradford City. The Area Transportation Authority of North Central Pennsylvania is planning to construct a regional transfer center for local and intercity public transit passengers and tour buses in the central business district of Bradford. The transit center will provide a location for buses to meet and transfer individuals, an indoor waiting area with seating, restrooms, ticket booths, bus system information and a parking lot for buses and commuter cars. The total project cost is $2,647,000.
- Borough of Coudersport – $300,000 grant (Flood Mitigation Program)
This grant will provide support for Phase 5 of the levee certification process in the Borough of Coudersport. The Mill Creek Levee was constructed in the 1950’s by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Borough is required to have the levee inspected by an engineer and have them provide a feasibility study recommending corrective actions. During construction to repair the existing Mill Cree Levee, a sewer line was discovered along the upper section. This sewer line is currently at the toe of the levee and is exposed. FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers do not allow a utility line to be located along a toe of the levee unless concrete encased. The Borough plans to upgrade and repair this existing sewer line with a new SDR-35 line which provides concrete encasement. The total project cost is $391,419.